The controversial case has been watched closely by the rest of the country, and may push other states to liberalize their own abortion laws.
– In a strong reaffirmation of one of the hemisphere's most lenient abortion laws, Mexico's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld legal abortion in the nation's capital.
"To affirm that there is an absolute constitutional protection of life in gestation would lead to the violation of the fundamental rights of women," said Justice Sergio Valls.
The controversial case has been watched closely by the rest of the country, and both critics and supporters of the Supreme Court decision say they believe it will push other states to liberalize their own abortion laws.
"The case is very significant for the possibility of continuing this trend in other states in the republic," says María Consuelo Mejía, the director of Mexico's Catholics for the Right to Decide. "The arguments and the way in which they defended women's rights is very important, very symbolic."
The law to legalize abortion in the nation's capital was passed by the left-leaning assembly of Mexico City last April. It allows doctors to terminate pregnancy in the first three months under any conditions, but physicians who are morally opposed abortion are not required to perform the procedure.
In the rest of Mexico, abortions in the first trimester are currently only permitted in certain cases, including rape or if the mother's life is in danger.
Since taking effect, some 12,000 women have terminated their pregnancies in public hospitals in Mexico City, according to city statistics. Twenty percent of them are residents from outside the capital.